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V Encyclopedia of the Celts

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King of the Tangled Wood, he lived in a castle on a high mountain, mist- and forest-bound. No one could enter unless Valerin told his monsters to let him pass. Valerin claimed Guinevere, saying he was betrothed to her before she was affianced and wed to Arthur. Lancelot fought for her and won, but Valerin later carried her off and imprisoned her in a castle surrounded by snakes. She was placed in a magic sleep but, with the aid of the wizard Malduc, she was freed. # 156 - 710


Oisin's spell broken in the Valley of the Thrushes. # 562


The King of Wales, he was a relation of Lancelot. # 2 - 156


(Brutan) A King of Gales (see WALES), newly converted to Christianity. A mysterious ship arrived in Britain, carrying David's Sword, which Varlan used to kill his enemy, King Lambor. As a result of this act, their kingdoms became the Waste Land. # 156


The Veil of Illusion thrown over Caradawc by Caswallan. # 562


The site in Cornwall of a legendary battle in which Arthur defeated the Danes. He was assisted by the Seven Kings of Cornwall. # 156


A Gaulish tribe, noted as mariners, considered still to be existing in the sixth century. Traditionally, Trephina, daughter of their leader, marries Cunomorus. See: MARK. # 156


Celtic chief who was defeated by Caesar and send to Rome where he was imprisoned for six years and finally, under Caesar's triumph, was killed. # 396 - 562




In the Grail story this name is used to designate Saint Veronica who, tradition claims, had a cloth with Christ's image on it. In the saga of the Grail, Verrine used this cloth to cure Vespasian's leprosy. # 30 - 156


Roman emperor AD 69-79. The Grail story makes him the liberator of Joseph of Arimathea who had been held prisoner in Jerusalem. # 30 - 156


The human virtues which commend themselves to fairies are those which render human intercourse agreeable to them, for a point which is always striking us in fairy legend is the Dependence of Fairies Upon Mortals. Two different and almost contradictory traits are asked of humans: they should be close and private, well able to keep the fairy secrets and to guard aganst Infringements of Fairy Privacy, often fond of solitude and contemplation; and they should be open and capable of generosity, ready to share with anyone in need and to speak the truth about their own plans and quests. The first necessary if the traditional way of life of the SECRET PEOPLE is to be preserved, and the second is congenial to the fairies as guardians of fertility and growth. In the interests of fertility, true love and the affairs of lovers are always under fairy patronage. Open, loving, free people are dear to them, but boasters and braggarts are unpopular. Gentleness and politeness are important to success. In a Russian fairy-tale, Father Frost's heart is won because the heroine politely refuses to complain of the cold although it is nearly killing her, and this is true to folk tradition everywhere, except in dealing with the most sinister of the supernaturals, where bragging and the Last Word is a recognized weapon.

Hospitality is one of the admired human virtues, and particularly hospitality towards the fairies, who must be made welcome in the houses which they visit be neatness and good order, a freshly swept clean hearth and clear fire, fresh, clear water set out for drinking and to wash the fairy babies, and sometimes milk, bread and cheese. An unexpected stranger fed may well be a disguised fairy. Good fortune rests upon a miller who sets his mill ready for use on request, a woman who freely lends a measure of meal or gives a fairy baby a suck at her breast. Examples of all these are to be found in the Lowlands of Scotland, cited by J. G. Campbell and William Henderson.

Fair Dealing and the keeping of promises always win respect and are often rewarded. A case in point is the story of 'The Laird o' Co', told by Chambers in his POPULAR RHYMES OF SCOTLAND. The Laird of Colzean Castle was accosted one day as he returned home by a small boy with an equally small can who begged for a drink of ale for his old, sick mother. The laird called the butler to fill the can to the brim. The butler took the can and emptied a whole cask into it without more than half-filling it. The butler in perplexity sent to ask what he should do. The laird said: 'I promised to fill it, and filled it shall be if it takes all the ale in my cellar.' So the butler broached a new cask, and after one drop the can was full, and the little boy thanked him and took it away. Some years later the laird was fighting in the Low Countries and had been taken prisoner. He was languishing there when the door opened, the fairy boy appeared and transported him back to his own castle. A similar good fortune befell Sir Godfrey McCulloch on the eve of his execution because he had courteously moved his back door so that his cesspool should not leak into the living-room of a fairy man whose house was beneath his. These are two examples of grateful fairies, who respected generosity, true dealing and courtesy when they met them. Merriment, cheerfulness, music, dancing and good fellowship are all endearing to those fairies who may be called the Seelie Court. The evil fairies of the Unseelie Court are incapable of affection. No man can endear himself to them, but then again, the difference between the two are easily recognized when they display themselves before the mortal humans. # 100 - 131 - 146 - 302


'Studies, meditation and idleness', this is, according to Michel Rio's MERLIN, the three virtues of the philosopher. # 555 p 96




The alternative name for Nimue in, among other stories, Tennyson's MORTE d'ARTHUR: a portrayal far removed from the otherworldly nuances of earlier legend. See: NIMUE. # 156 - 454


(Beehionn) A young giantess, daughter of Treon, from the Land of Maidens. She was slain by Aeda and buried in the place called the Ridge of the Dead. # 562


A British king who is first mentioned by Bede, Uurtigernus was his Latin name. As Vortigern means 'overlord', it may have been a title rather than a name (see: ARTHUR, KING - THE HISTORICAL) but this is by no means certain. He was connected with central Wales, south Wales and possibly Gloucester, from whose alleged founder he was thought to be descended. It cannot be stated with certainty over how much of Britain his sway extended, but he is generally regarded as historical, though H. Butler thinks it quite possible that he is purely legendary. Nennius says he began to reign in AD 425. He may have married a daughter of Maximus, the rebel Roman emperor who led an expedition from Britain to the Continent. He is credited with sons called Vortimer, Catigern, Pascent and Faustus. It was Geoffrey who made him the usurping king of Britain who invited the Saxons as mercenaries against invading Picts and Scots and to fend off the waves of Saxon invaders who periodically encroached on British shores. The Saxon mercenaries soon became greedy for more and more lands and began inviting more of their own kind to join them. Vortigern attempted to arrange a peaceful meeting between the Saxons and Britons at Stonehenge, but the Saxons brought hidden weapons into the council and, at a signal, rose up and massacred the unarmed Britons. Vortigern was spared and fled to Wales where he attempted to build a tower, which would not stand however. Merlin Emrys explained that it was because of the warring dragons, one red and one white, which lay beneath the foundations. They represented the warring nations of Britons and Saxons. A poor king, Vortigern fled again and was displaced for a while by his son, Vortimer. He was finally caught and killed by the rightful king Ambrosius and his brother, Uther. In one version Vortigern is thought to have perished in a fire in his tower or of a broken heart. He is possibly identical with the unnamed proud tyrant mentioned by Gildas. # 156 - 242 - 243 - 454 - 484 - 589 - 630 - 697


The son of Vortigern, he replaced his father for a while. He opposed the Saxons and said that, when he died, he should be buried in the place at which the Saxons most frequently landed and a statue of him be erected to frighten them off. According to Geoffrey, Vortimer's countrymen did not comply. TRIAD 37, however, avers that his bones were buried in the chief British ports. Other traditions suggests that a statue of him was put up at Dover. Commentators such as Brodeur regard Vortimer as a purely fictional character. # 104 - 156 - 243 - 697